Archive for July, 2013

Winner of the Jane Austen Notebooks

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Today, I am happy to announce the winner of the lovely Jane Austen notebooks…

 

***

Christina!

***

 

Thank you all SO much for participating and for making my blog a fun place to be. Please stay tuned for the next giveaways I’ll be doing as the launch of LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT draws nigh..

Give Away of GRACIANNA by Trini Amador

Monday, July 29th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

 

Gracianna Tour Banner FINAL

 

I am so excited to host Trini Amador and his beautiful novel GRACIANNA today on my blog. We’re giving away a copy of the novel through the fabulous Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours with Amy Bruno. The giveaway is for one copy and open to US/Canada only. Please read below to find out more about this lovely book…

Gracianna
GRACIANNA
Publication Date: July 23, 2013

Greenleaf Book Group Press Hardcover;

296p ISBN-10: 1608325709

The gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make  impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s  great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by  the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a  nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern  California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory  remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.
Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In  Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his  great-grandmother’s story.
Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way  to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war  and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death  struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a  laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back  against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it  means using lethal force.
As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother  risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.
Praise for Gracianna
“Gracianna is a riveting and remarkable narrative. The characters  come alive through their unassuming but compelling stories, as  Nazi-occupied Paris unfolds before our eyes. We come to care deeply  about the characters, which makes putting down the book almost  impossible. Highly recommended.” – Stacey Katz Bourns, Director of  Language Programs, Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard  University    “While wine is obviously a significant part of life’s enjoyment,  the story behind the wine can be even more gratifying. You will be  fixated on this thrilling story written by Trini Amador which was  inspired by Gracianna, his great-grandmother, the French Basque namesake of his family’s award-winning winery in Sonoma County.”  – Bob Cabral,  Director of Winemaking & General Manager, Williams Selyem Winery

 

Trini Amador Author

 

About the Author
Trini Amador  vividly remembers the day he found a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering through his great-grandmother’s home in  Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the  memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.  This experience sparked a journey towards Gracianna, Amador’s debut  novel, inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination.  It’s a tale drawing from real-life family experiences.
Mr. Amador is a traveled global marketing “insighter.” He is a  sought-after guru teaching multinational brand marketers to understand  how customer and consumer segments behave based on their needs, values,  motivations, feeling and values. He has trained over five thousand brand marketers on how to grow brands in over 20 countries in the last 15  years. His counseling has been valued at global brands including General Electric, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google, Jack  Daniel’s, The J.M. Smucker Co., DuPont, Mattel, and Rodale, Inc..
Amador is also a founding partner with his wife and children of  Gracianna Winery, an award-winning winery located in Healdsburg,  California. The winery also pays tribute to the Amador Family’s maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. Her message of being thankful lives on  through them. The Gracianna winery strives to keep Gracianna’s gratitude alive through their wine. Learn more at: www.gracianna.com, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.
Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.

Q & A with CW Gortner, Author of THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY

Friday, July 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Tudor Conspiracy Tour Banner FINAL

It is CW Gortner week on my blog!  Today I have the joy of talking with him about his latest novel, and all things Elizabethan. As a huge fan of both Elizabeth I and CW, this is bliss.

 

CWG

Thank you for joining us. As a fan of the great queen, I have to ask, when did you become obsessed with Elizabeth I?

I remember it was when I first saw “Elizabeth R” with Glenda Jackson on television. My family had just moved to Spain at the time and the series was broadcast via the BBC; it mesmerized me. Then I saw the movie “Mary, Queen of Scots” at the cinema, on the big screen, with Glenda Jackson reprising her role as Elizabeth and a luminous Vanessa Redgrave as the ill-fated Mary, and I was utterly hooked on Elizabeth, and the Tudors, for life. I read as many novels and biographies as I could find, and in time grew to study Elizabeth as part of my university thesis on powerful women of the Renaissance. Elizabeth is so iconic and alluring that practically every generation has re-defined her for their particular age. From Bette Davis to Flora Robson to Glenda Jackson, Cate Blanchett, and Vanessa Redgrave most recently, the fiery red-headed queen has truly found her immortality.

 

Your beautiful historical novels THE QUEEN’S VOW, THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI, and THE LAST QUEEN are all told from the feminine POV. In your Tudor spy series, though, your protagonist is a man. Do you enjoy writing from a masculine POV more?

 

I like both POVs equally. It would be easier— certainly, simpler— to relegate the complex women I write about to clichés. However, I find their complexity much more interesting. All of the women I write about were fallible, extraordinary, flesh-and-blood human beings. Their motivations aren’t simply defined; the challenge for me, the inspiration that spurs my writing, is the desire to get underneath their skins and try to discover the actual person they may have been. What I enjoy about my lead character Brendan, in turn,  is that he’s an ordinary man who must become more than he wants to be because he has a secret that could destroy him; he offers me freedom as a novelist to move beyond history and into a realm of imagination. Brendan has very different concerns than my queens and finds himself in situations they never would. He uses weapons, chases assassins, gets trapped in burning manors and flooding dungeons. He lives quite an exciting, if perilous, life. That said, every character I write becomes my favorite when I’m writing him or her. Gender has never felt like an obstacle to me.

 

In THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY, even though it is a spy thriller, your research is readily apparent. How much research goes into writing these thrillers, as opposed to the research you have done for your straight historical fiction novels?

 

Oh, I do just as much research; in some instances, even more. I undertake massive research whenever I first prepare to write a novel; I read extant documentation of the era, as well as biographies, social histories, specialized books on fashion, furniture, weaponry, etc. The research for these particular novels also takes me into unexpected places. For THETUDOR CONSPIRACY, I had to learn different styles of sword play. I also ended up doing research on the ways crime was regulated in Tudor London and dug around for information on whether Southwark had male brothels. I looked up architectural plans for Whitehall Palace and found out how paupers were buried. I researched how noble prisoners like the Dudleys lived in the Tower; if they engaged in illicit correspondence, and if so, how that correspondence could be conveyed in and out of the Tower walls. For the historical-based plot, I had to read everything I could about the revolt planned against Mary in order to devise an alternative version that would involve my characters. It’s not easy; it’s like a complex puzzle box, in which I must find and fit imaginary pieces into the historical framework.

n398881

Fantastic! Thank you again for joining us, CW. Lovely readers, hit this link to learn more about this fabulous novel.

 

CW Gortner, Author of THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

The Tudor Conspiracy Tour Banner FINAL

 

I am thrilled today to host one of my favorite authors, author CW Gortner and his beautiful new novel, THE TUDOE CONSPIRACY.  And I’m not the only one who loves it! Read below to find some amazing kudos for the book…

 

 

n398881

Praise for THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY
“The Tudor  Conspiracy weaves a suspenseful, tangled skein of intrigue. It is a  vibrant historical mystery and crime-thriller with an A-list cast of  characters. Here are Elizabeth Tudor and her Robert Dudley in a light  you’ve seldom seen them. —Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I

“C.W. Gortner has done it again! Intrigue at the Tudor court never  looked more lethal than in his capable hands, as forbidden desires and  deadly rivalries turn sister against sister and plunge our bold hero  into a labyrinth of deceit. Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read!” —Michelle  Moran, author of Nefertiti

“In C.W. Gortner’s skillful hands, the plots and counterplots come  to seething life, with Brendan using every ounce of his brains and  courage to protect those he loves while struggling to stay alive. . . .  Lovers of Tudor history and suspense fiction will be riveted by this  swift-paced, sexy, enthralling novel.” —Nancy Bilyeau, author of The  Crown

“Suspense, intrigue, betrayal, and deadly rivalry: what more can you ask for? From the serpentine halls of the court to the vicious back  alleys and stews of Tudor London, Gortner has brewed a swashbuckling,  perilous adventure that you simply can’t put down!” —M.J. Rose, author  of The Book of Lost Fragrances

“C.W. Gortner has an unmatched talent for bringing the past to life. The Tudor Conspiracy is historical fiction at its best: a compelling  story masterfully told, vivid characters fully drawn, and an accurate  depiction of history of the time. A novel not to be missed.” —Tasha  Alexander

 

 

The Tudor Conspiracy UK

More About The Novel:

Hunted by a shadowy foe in Bloody Mary’s court, Brendan Prescott plunges into  London’s treacherous underworld to unravel a dark conspiracy that could  make Elizabeth queen—or send her to her death in C.W. Gortner’s The  Tudor Conspiracy

England, 1553: Harsh winter encroaches upon the realm. Mary Tudor  has become queen to popular acclaim and her enemies are imprisoned in  the Tower. But when she’s betrothed to Philip, Catholic prince of Spain, putting her Protestant subjects in peril, rumors of a plot to depose  her swirl around the one person whom many consider to be England’s heir  and only hope—the queen’s half-sister, Princess Elizabeth.

Haunted by his past, Brendan Prescott lives far from the intrigues  of court. But his time of refuge comes to an end when his foe and  mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings him disquieting news that sends him  on a dangerous mission. Elizabeth is held captive at court, the target  of the Spanish ambassador, who seeks her demise. Obliged to return to  the palace where he almost lost his life, Brendan finds himself working  as a double-agent for Queen Mary herself, who orders Brendan to secure  proof that will be his cherished Elizabeth’s undoing.

Plunged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a mysterious  opponent who hides a terrifying secret, Brendan races against time to  retrieve a cache of the princess’s private letters, even as he begins to realize that in this dark world of betrayal and deceit, where power is  supreme and sister can turn against sister, nothing—and no one—is what  it seems.

 

CWG

About The Author
C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in  Writing, with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. Raised in Spain and  half Spanish by birth, he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit him at www.cwgortner.com for more information.  You can also follow Christopher on Facebook and Twitter.

 

THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY by C.W. Gortner

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

The Tudor Conspiracy Tour Banner FINAL

n398881

US Publication Date: July 16, 2013

St. Martin’s Griffin Paperback

 

5 Stars

My Review:

I loved this book. I was transported by C.W. Gortner’s historical novels, THE LAST QUEEN, THE CONFESSION OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI, and  THE QUEEN’S VOW and I adored the first of his spy thrillers, THE TUDOR SECRET which introduces us to Brendan Prescott and his shadowy world of intrigue. So I was not surprised when I loved THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY.

The novel opens with the Princess Elizabeth a virtual prisoner at her sister’s court, unable to know whom to trust, cut adrift among enemies both for her precarious position so close to the throne and for her religious beliefs. When her trusted advisor, Robert Cecil, is banished, he sends the loyal Brendan Prescott to slip into the court of Queen Mary I, to spy for Elizabeth, and if possible, to get her to safety.

When Brendan arrives he finds that nothing is what it seems. When his trusted friend and squire is murdered by poison, he realizes that it is not only the Princess Elizabeth whose life is in jeopardy. This book does a wonderful job of bringing the court of Bloody Mary to life.

Of course, the book takes place before Mary begins burning Protestants, but the threat of what is to come looms on the horizon. Through Brendan, CW Gortner does a marvelous job of making history fresh and vivid. As much as I have read about Elizabeth I’s arduous climb to the throne, CW Gortner made me forget what I already knew, and immerse myself in his novel. I watched the Wyatt rebellion unfold on his pages all over again, and I was on the edge of my seat. CW Gortner asks the question that historians are still asking: Was Elizabeth involved in the Wyatt Rebellion and its efforts to overthrow her sister’s reign? When you read this page turner you may be surprised by the answer he finds.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Amazon, B&N and Goodreads limit me to 5 stars, but if I could, I would give this fabulous novel of intrigue, danger and unshakable loyalty a 6.

The Tudor Conspiracy UK

 UK Publication Date: July 18, 2013

Hodder & Stoughton
Description:
Hunted by a shadowy foe in Bloody Mary’s court, Brendan Prescott plunges into  London’s treacherous underworld to unravel a dark conspiracy that could  make Elizabeth queen—or send her to her death in C.W. Gortner’s The  Tudor ConspiracyEngland, 1553: Harsh winter encroaches upon the realm. Mary Tudor  has become queen to popular acclaim and her enemies are imprisoned in  the Tower. But when she’s betrothed to Philip, Catholic prince of Spain, putting her Protestant subjects in peril, rumors of a plot to depose  her swirl around the one person whom many consider to be England’s heir  and only hope—the queen’s half-sister, Princess Elizabeth.

Haunted by his past, Brendan Prescott lives far from the intrigues  of court. But his time of refuge comes to an end when his foe and  mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings him disquieting news that sends him  on a dangerous mission. Elizabeth is held captive at court, the target  of the Spanish ambassador, who seeks her demise. Obliged to return to  the palace where he almost lost his life, Brendan finds himself working  as a double-agent for Queen Mary herself, who orders Brendan to secure  proof that will be his cherished Elizabeth’s undoing.

Plunged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a mysterious  opponent who hides a terrifying secret, Brendan races against time to  retrieve a cache of the princess’s private letters, even as he begins to realize that in this dark world of betrayal and deceit, where power is  supreme and sister can turn against sister, nothing—and no one—is what  it seems.

My Latest…